February 22, 2004


When former Gore wardrobe consultants begin to feel ignored:

The American feminist Naomi Wolf has accused a noted Yale University professor of sexually harassing her while she was an undergraduate, and alleged a long history of such events at Yale.

According to advance "tasters" of her magazine expose, Wolf describes herself as a victim of harassment and names Harold Bloom, a prominent literary critic and Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale, as her tormentor.

Bloom himself has never demonstrated particularly good judgment. Let the Gore/Clark booster battle commence!

UPDATE, via contributor J. F. Beck:

Sources at New York said that Ms. Wolf’s article was being fact-checked, and may change significantly in the next few days.

Posted by Tim Blair at February 22, 2004 01:04 AM

Sexual harassment is a fashionable accusation among feminists. In fact, unless you have been sexually harassed, you cannot properly call yourself a feminist. You are merely a "wannabe".

Particularly when the statute of limitations is far past, and there is no possibility that you will have to stand up in court and prove your claim. Such a charge becomes a "fashion statement", an expression of chic.

Posted by: RB at February 22, 2004 at 02:04 AM

What the hell is it with them so-called "empowered" "feminists"? I suspect that every woman at one time or another has had some sort of harrassment from a man. I know I have, from subtle to blatant and tacky. So what? I was somehow able to tell the idiots to go stuff themselves, and do it in the days before feminism became a buzzword.

Yes, there are egregious cases that need to be reported, and prosecuted, but most of the time a woman (not an over-age little girl) should be able to tell off the loser and get on with life.

As for bringing it up 20 years later - particularly when physical assault wasn't involved - sheesh. Get a life.

Posted by: Barbara Skolaut at February 22, 2004 at 02:17 AM

He probably paid her a compliment -- told her her hair was pretty or something. Bad move: pay a feminist a compliment and you are "sexually objectifying them" and therefore "sexually harrassing them" by reminding them that they are women. Of course the obverse isn't true because Men are Powerful Oppressors™.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at February 22, 2004 at 02:20 AM

See, this is the kind of trivial, self-obsessed, narcissistic "feminist" that makes all real feminists look bad--this kind of peurile, whining, perpetual-victim bitch who has persuaded herself and does her almighty damnedest to persuade everyone else that she just suffers so in the big bad man-made world.

What a fucking crybaby. Spoiled, petulant, and never responsible for her own life. She needs a reality-slap.

Posted by: ushie at February 22, 2004 at 02:50 AM

Camille Paglia is ready to do the job.

Posted by: Donnah at February 22, 2004 at 03:09 AM

What is ``Naomi'' backwards? It's a subliminal effect but would get to you in 40 years or so, what with mirrors and everything.

I know that after a gunman hijacked a plane out of Los Angeles some years ago, they investigated the security in the baggage area and reported it was ``lax.'' That baggage-tag effect took only a couple of months to work on them.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at February 22, 2004 at 04:51 AM

Andrea, a man paying a woman a compliment has some sexual return in mind. Otherwise who would pay women any attention at all? It's not as if there's no countermoves within the game though. Displacements are everything. You could even get romance out of it. It's the war between the sexes, where nobody quite gets what they want.

Feminism fetishizes it, is all. Paglia's complaint is that she hasn't gotten past that.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at February 22, 2004 at 05:08 AM

At least Bloom is one lib who recognizes we will have "years of trouble" a head of us...He's just wrong about everything else.

As for sexual harrasement..Uhm..it does happen..happened to me once when I was working in Germany (interestingly NOT while I was in the Army)..After my night supervisor asked me out and I refused (I was married, he was married) he became a real insulting sonofabitch. I just let the bastards comments roll off my back, it didn't bother me all that much..until he pinned me against a desk one day..than I took it to my manager (a female). The idiot admitted it ("I was only joking around"!)..I didn't want him to lose his job or anything like that. His punishment? All he had to do was attend an EO class which he refused and so was fired.

Posted by: KellyW. at February 22, 2004 at 06:04 AM

Hands up all those guys at work who've ever had babes from heaven drape their chest all over your arm and back, or grasping your inner thigh - but only when she wants you to do her work for her. When you've done the work - zoom, they're gone.

Hands up all those babes from work that have ever done that...

Posted by: The Gnu Hunter at February 22, 2004 at 06:24 AM

Although Bloom is in the academic lit theory biz, he actually loves literature, so I can’t find him completely tiresome. On the other hand, he has recognized little of literary quality that was not already recognized when he came to it, &, just like any Ivy League lit prof, really has no business talking about “important 20th Century literature,” a subject he seems to know about mainly through some Martian Gazette. If he’d shut up about the subject I’d like him better.

I wonder what Naomi looked like all those years ago to catch his antiquarian eye.

Posted by: ForNow at February 22, 2004 at 06:44 AM


Naomi Wolf was and is a BABE. There's no getting around it. In fact, her good looks have been her greatest liability in being taken seriously by many feminists who favor the butch, make up-less, "natural" look.

Naomi was a semi-regular on Bill Maher's 1990's "Politically Incorrect" show here in the States but she got by on her looks and boiler plate platitudes. When she married and had a child, she wrote of her pregnancy in a way that would make you believe she was the first woman in history to have concieved, carried, and given birth to a child.

She's more of a celeb than a serious or innovative, original thinker despite her Ivy League credentials. Still, she is beautiful.

Posted by: JDB at February 22, 2004 at 07:43 AM

Am I mistaken in thinking that she was eventually shown to be the journalist (initially unnamed) who stated during Monicagate that she would "service" Bill Clinton as long as he did his bit to keep abortion legal (paraphrase from memory)?

I saw her as a panelist on this new Dennis Miller political comment show on CNBC recently. "Boilerplate platitudes" is definitely the right description of her pronouncements.

If I'm right about her remark, I guess that makes Professor Bloom a modern-day American sexual politics version of what the old line Communists referred to as a "premature anti-fascist".

Posted by: Paul H. at February 22, 2004 at 08:08 AM

Andrea, a man paying a woman a compliment has some sexual return in mind.

No, he might only be paying her a friendly compliment in a way he thinks she might like. Women tend to be concerned with looking good, so saying "you look good" tends to be better appreciated than saying "you have such big hands, I bet you can open a jar of pickles just like that!"

Posted by: Teenage Diplomat at February 22, 2004 at 09:21 AM

Camille Paglia, in typical form, mentioned tore a strip off Wolf in her MIT lecture:

And beauty, according to, um, Miss, um, Naomi Wolf, is a heterosexist conspiracy by men in a room to keep feminism back--and all that crap that's going on. I call her, by the way, "Little Miss Pravda." She and I are head to head on MTV this week, in case you want to know! But I won't appear with her. Oprah's tried to get me on with her: I won't go on with her. A talk show in Italy wanted to fly me over to appear with her. No. I always say, "Would Caruso appear with Tiny Tim?" If you want to see what's wrong with Ivy League education, look at The Beauty Myth, that book by Naomi Wolf. This is a woman who graduated from Yale magna cum laude, is a Rhodes scholar, and cannot write a coherent paragraph. This is a woman who cannot do historical analysis, and she is a Rhodes scholar? If you want to see the damage done to intelligent women today in the Ivy League, look at that book. It's a scandal. Naomi Wolf is an intelligent woman. She has been ill-served by her education. But if you read Lacan, this is the result. Your brain turns to pudding! She has a case to make. She cannot make it. She's full of paranoid fantasies about the world. Her education was completely removed from reality


Early on, I was in love with beauty. I don't feel less because I'm in the presence of a beautiful person. I don't go [imitates crying and dabbing tears], "Oh, I'll never be that beautiful!" What a ridiculous attitude to take!--the Naomi Wolf attitude. When men look at sports, when they look at football, the don't go [crying], "Oh, I'll never be that fast, I'll never be that strong!" When people look at Michelangelo's David, do they commit suicide? No. See what I mean? When you see a strong person, a fast person, you go, "Wow! That is fabulous." When you see a beautiful person: "How beautiful." That's what I'm bringing back to feminism. You go, "What a beautiful person, what a beautiful man, what a beautiful woman, what beautiful hair, what beautiful boobs!" Okay, now I'll be charged with sexual harassment, probably. I won't even be able to get out of the room!

[ ... ]

It is so provincial, feminism's problem with beauty. We have got to get over this. Obviously, any addiction--like if you're addicted to plastic surgery--that's a problem. Of course it's a problem. Addiction to anything is a problem. But this blaming anorexia on the media--this is Naomi's thing--oh please! Anorexia is coming out of these white families, these pushy, perfectionist white families, who all end up with their daughters at Yale. Naomi arrives in England, and "Gee, all the women Rhodes scholars have eating disorders. Gee, it must be...the media"! Maybe it's that you are a parent-pleasing, teacher-pleasing little kiss-ass! Maybe you're a yuppie! Maybe you, Miss Yuppie, have figured out the system. Isn't it interesting that Miss Naomi, the one who has succeeded in the system, the one who has been given the prizes by the system, she who is the princess of the system, she's the one who's bitchin' about it? I'm the one who's been poor and rejected--shouldn't I be the one bitching about it? No--because I'm a scholar, okay, and she's a twit!

Posted by: Teenage Diplomat at February 22, 2004 at 09:38 AM

My ex was a _very_ sexually attractive woman. She learned well before I met her how to handle unwanted "attention." Once, in a rather large group, a guy who evidently thought being in a crowd protected him from response made a comment to her that he shouldn't have. Her reply could be heard pretty much throughout the room, by about 75 people. "I wouldn't (have sex) with you if you were the last man on earth. I would much rather be dead in a ditch." He slunk out. She returned to her conversation.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at February 22, 2004 at 10:12 AM

Paglia is right about so much and she's spot on about Wolf's intellect and waste of education.

Besides, doesn't Bloom prefer - shall we say - men?

Posted by: timks at February 22, 2004 at 11:15 AM

Paglia's Ali to Wolf's Balbao.

Posted by: slatts at February 22, 2004 at 11:41 AM

I can understand it.......apparently he left a bad taste in her mouth.....

I got pissed off with her when she called him gushy.......

Wonder if she swallows......one swallow does not a summer make.....but it's kinda nice anyhow....

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone...THE PART OF THE FIRST STONE WILL NOW BE PLAYED BY John Malkovich......

Which brings us to counselling : What do 10 000 abused women have in common?


In conclussion let me say just....this....

Posted by: Traps at February 22, 2004 at 07:44 PM

Sounds like she is in SERIOUS need of media attention and hopes her sales figures ROCKET! Too bad most of us don't give a toss.

Posted by: koranistoiletpaper at February 23, 2004 at 01:47 AM

Such a long time has passed since Naomi Wolf had a big hit with "The Beauty Myth", that these days people might confuse her with Naomi Klein. Also, they have other, perhaps more pressing problems, like a war going on, etc.

These belated attempts to get back in the limelight are pathetic. If she had such a juicy story to exploit, why didn't she use it before?

Anyway, radical feminists feel harassed even if someone says "good morning".

Posted by: Dani at February 23, 2004 at 03:43 AM

Damn, about Bloom and his fancying the Dems.

One disgrees with his assertion it is a short line from Shakespeare to the quackery of Psychology. Aprt from this not trivial detail, Blooms work as a scholar is refreshing against the background of dribble that gushes forth in floods.

Disapponting on the politics class, it might be said, Bloom should have remained silent, does him no credit.

As for Wolf's allegation, only in her fetid imagination. He might be leftoid, but Bloom is no trawler, certainly not after trollopes like Naomi..

Posted by: d at February 23, 2004 at 08:58 AM

I'm with you. I could have sworn that Bloom was homosexual. While I have known a few mysoginist homosexuals, I doubt even they, in their woman hating-ways, would sexually harrass women. Maybe Bloom was just a jerk to her and the only way she can explain it is by saying it was sexual harrassment. OR, you could have told her that her writing style was complete shit and she's been stewing about it ever since.

Posted by: Scott at February 23, 2004 at 11:37 PM

Might be on the nail Scott, calling someone's writing trailer trash is, these days, a sadistic oppressive act of racist/or sexual harrassment types.Which, explains why Clinton used `interns' for dication and could get away with it. Ifhe had said: listen, I don't care for your spelling, now that would have been a criminal offence.

Posted by: d at February 24, 2004 at 11:26 AM

Might be on the nail Scott, calling someone's writing trailer trash is, these days, a sadistic oppressive act of racist/or sexual harrassment types.Which, explains why Clinton used `interns' for dictation and could get away with it. Ifhe had said: listen, I don't care for your spelling, now that would have been a criminal offence.

Posted by: d at February 24, 2004 at 11:26 AM